The secretory senescence of the airway
Secretory senescence of the upper and lower airway represents the most important risk factor for respiratory complication in the elderly. In most cases, patients present with high health care costs due to the relevant number of hospitalizations and medical cares. A growing evidence is accumulating on the role of immunosenescence in the pathogenesis of chronic rhinosinusal disorders, and on defect in the lubrication of the corneal, conjunctival and scleral mucosa, delicate structures of the external eye, and of trachea-bronchial diseases, dependent on a failure of the gland system and reduction of mucociliary clearance (MCC). The presence of multiple comorbidities in the elderly may significantly contribute to a systemic pro-inflammatory state which negatively affects the airway. Secretory senescence promotes systemic inflammation and exacerbates the pre-existing pathologies. The role of cytokines is associated to a pro-inflammatory state of breathing apparatus. Several observations support the hypothesis that the secretory senescence can act in a paracrine and vasocrine manner to influence the structure and function of glands, mucus and lacrimal secretions, thus contributing to fraility and hospitalizations in the elderly. Given the recognized role of secretory senescence in the pathophysiology of airway disease, it should be desirable to identify specific therapies targeting the nasal, lacrimal and tracheo- bronchial secretory system able to modulate its pro-inflammatory profile and the negative effect of the inflammatory burden on the elderly.
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© Società Italiana di Gerontologia e Geriatria (SIGG) , 2020
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